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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Vol. 25, No.1 October 2019

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

The Quarterly Magazine (Jan, Apr, Jul, and Oct) for the Indian Diaspora

Vol. 25 No. 1 www.pittsburghpatrika.com October 2019

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Highlights in this issue... ... ...

Page

25 Year and Going Strong!!

By Kollengode S Venkataraman .................................................... 2

The Jammu-Kashmir-Ladakh Conundrum

By Kollengode S Venkataraman.................................................... 4

Prithvi ka Swarg Pitsburgh — A Poem in Hindi

By Pt. Jagdish Chandra Joshi ....................................................... 12

Chinmayananda’s Mahasamadhi Day Celebrated

By Ganesh Krishnamurthy............................................................ 13

Uncertainty for the Near Future in South Asia

By Kollengode S Venkataraman................................................... 14

Qingdao, A Chinese Gem Along the Yellow Sea

By Kollengode S Venkataraman................................................... 17

Affordability of the Retirement Communities in India/Pune

By Balwant Dixit.......................................................................... 26

Dekho Hamara Hindustan — Story of A Missing Elephant

By Prema Venkataraman............................................................... 32

On the Cover: It was a crisp, clear day in late September. We were in

downtown Pittsburgh for an evening appointment. We were early. We

walked around the city and on the 6th Street Bridge. We took this lovely

picture from the northern shore of the Allegheny River at the PNC Park

gate — Prema and Venkataraman •

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

The Quarterly Magazine (Jan, Apr, Jul, and Oct) for the Indian Diaspora

Vol. 25 No 1 www.pittsburghpatrika.com October 2019

Phone/Fax: (724) 327 0953

4

e-mail: ThePatrika@aol.com

25th Year and Going Strong!!

By Kollengode S Venkataraman

The Pittsburgh Patrika enters its 25th year. Reaching this milestone for

a financially and editorially independent small-town Ethnic Media publication

is noteworthy. Publishing is a time-consuming job requiring attention

to detail, working against deadlines from the get-go. Editing, proofing,

and laying out in the format, then getting it printed and mailing them for

free to 1800-plus addresses every three months takes time.

By choice, we do not seek financial support from any social, political,

cultural, religious, or other entity. We pay all our ever-rising bills

through our advertisements. Three of our readers on their own send us

unsolicited small contributions every year. We owe a big Thank You to

all our advertisers and these supporters for their trust in our integrity.

People living among us find time to write articles for the magazine,

informing readers about many topics. All the stories in the magazine are

about ourselves or on a topic that interests our readers. And deliberately we

stay away from the juicy Indian filmi tidbits and also from local gossip.

The Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area, with a population of nearly 2.4

million, is the 22nd in the nation. The Indian population in our area is

only around 20,000, yet we do have vibrant practitioners of Indian classical

and contemporary dances, and vocal and instrumental music, with

support from a handful of individual patrons. We can do better with more

ticket-buying audiences, given our better education, higher earnings and

net worth.

As is the case with all print publications, the Patrika too is facing

tremendous headwinds in these days of information overload and other

social media choices being available. TV and cell phones have cut into

our reading and writing on complex issues. This is a global trend.

In the next several issues, you will see occasional reprints of articles

from yesteryears. In the meanwhile, bouquets and brickbats from readers

on the magazine’s 25 years of journey are also most welcome. •


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

The Jammu-Kashmir-Ladakh Conundrum

Straightened Out and Yet Not

By Kollengode S Venkataraman

The complex history of

Kashmir from all perspectives

is scattered throughout

cyberspace. Atul Singh and

Manu Sharma’s recent summary

What Lies Behind India’s

Bold Bet on Kashmir?

in the on-line magazine Fair

Observer is an example.

Pakistan does not even

recognize Articles 370 and

35A of the Indian constitution, which, in 1954, gave special status as

a temporary measure to India’s Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) state after

its accession in the 1947 Partition. In 1947, when Kashmir’s king Hari

Singh joined with India,

Pakistan sent its forces

and took control of part of

Kashmir. The maps below

show how Kashmir is split

among India, Pakistan,

and China, with the former

two claiming the whole of

Kashmir. The Line of Control

(LoC) is the current de

facto border

To begin with, the two

articles in the Indian constitution,

included as temporary measures, are discriminatory Women face

disparities in property and marriage rights vis-a-vis men. There is no

constitutional protection for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

and minorities. Indians are prohibited from a) claiming residency in the

state no matter how long they have lived there, b) acquiring property, c)

getting assistance from government programs, and d) securing government

jobs and scholarships for children in colleges.

These factors and the continual violence, particularly in the Kashmir

Valley, has not helped in developing the region in the last thirty years,

compared to the rest of India. But as happens with any government, once

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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Division

The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Area

Sq. km

Area (%)

Kashmir 15,948 15.73%

Jammu 26,293 25.93%

Ladakh 59,146 58.33%

you put any rule to suit the need of the

hour, vested interests take over, making

it impossible to change them.

In the meantime, Kashmiris have

spread out all over India establishing

themselves, buying properties, running

businesses, educating their children,

and getting all the other benefits of the Indian citizenship.

The Kashmir issue is the “jugular vein” for its military and its politicians.

So, Pakistan tries to “internationalize” India’s August 5 abrogation

of Articles 370 and 35A, even though it does not even recognize them.

Pakistan’s military has perpetuated its iron grip on Pakistan’s government

and resources, penetrating Pakistani society through the thousands of businesses

the military runs. So, India as an eternal threat is necessary for the

military to continue its hold on Pakistan’s civil society.

In the politics of the J&K state since 1947, only a few families have

had influence and control: the Abdullahs (Sheikh, his son Farookh,

and Farookh’s son Omar); the Muftis (Mohammed Sayeed Mufti and his

daughter Mehbooba); the Lones and the Ansaris; and finally, the Nehru/

Population As a %

of Total

Gandhi family’s satraps. Corruption in public life in any system with only

a handful of families having power for generations needs no explanation.

This is endemic throughout India.

Given the pre-British bloody history of the region and how India and

Pakistan violently sliced the region between themselves during Partition,

it is impossible to mediate an acceptable solution. On Kashmir, there are

more than two parties — the governments of India and Pakistan, Pakistan’s

military, hardliners in each country, Kashmiri separatists, and then, China.

So, the ulcerous issue has festered for over 70 years.

The British colonial occupiers left India in reckless haste in 1947,

letting the “native coolies” fend for themselves and sort out the

issues. If they thought that the ensuing confusion and violence would keep

their influence and control on the natives, they were mistaken. Over the

past 70-plus years, all options have been tried to resolve the issue:

a) Pakistan-initiated outright wars in 1965, 1971 and 1999; continual

stealth operations by Pakistan across the LoC and in the Kashmir valley

through the decades; and providing “political, moral, and diplomatic”

8

%

Muslim

%

Hindu

%

Sikh

%

Buddhist

Kashmir Valley 6,900,000 55.02 97.2 1.8 0.9 0.1

Jammu Region: 5,351,000 42.67 30.7 65.2 3.6 0.5


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

support (which means providing arms, money and intel) for the Kashmiri

separatists and terrorists; b) hyped up summitry between the India-Pakistan

heads of governments, secret back channel contacts between governmentapproved

interlocutors; c) soft power people-to-people contacts, sports

and cultural exchanges, and train and bus services across the border; d)

improving trade that will obviate the very idea of “borders” in the globalized

world; e) nuclearization of the region with tens of atom bombs by

India and Pakistan (and China) with sophisticated delivery systems with

historically ominous names (Pakistan’s Ghauri, Gaznavi, Abdali, and

Babur missiles). But nothing has worked.

President Trump’s unsolicited, gratuitous mediation offer was the tipping

point. In diplomacy, Trump is as nuanced as a wild raging bull in

a china shop. So, nobody took seriously the unsolicited mediation offer

— not to mention the arbitration offer — he flippantly and irresponsibly

threw at TV reporters when Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan visited

the White House last July. The unsolicited offer Trump made was lapped

up by Pakistan as a game changer in this intractable issue. In a way, it

indeed was, but not in the way Pakistan wanted. India never wasted time

in saying publicly “Thanks Mr. Trump, but no thanks.” Later, with Trump

at his side at the G-7 meeting in France in August, Modi declared that all

India-Pakistan issues “are bilateral” and will be resolved bilaterally.

In India all political parties, in principle, have committed to scrap the

Articles, which were, after all, temporary measures. The Congress

Party has been whittling down their provisions over the years. For the

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), scrapping the articles was a public declaration.

The BJP returned to power in the May 2019 elections with even a

greater majority than what it got in 2014. In public discourse, this has

been debated ad nauseam. Besides, as reported by TCA Sharad Raghavan

in The Hindu, (July 24, 2016),

“Jammu and Kashmir [alone] has received 10 per cent of all Central

grants given to states [during] 2000-2016, despite having only one per cent

of the country’s population… … In contrast, Uttar Pradesh [with] about 13

per cent of the country’s population received only 8.2 per cent of Central

grants in 2000-16. That means J&K, with a population of 12.55 million

according to the 2011 Census, received Rs.91,300 per person over the

last sixteen years while Uttar Pradesh only received Rs.4,300 per person

over the same period”

The Modi government saw the atmosphere was ripe (see the article

below) for scrapping J&K’s temporary special status. So, on August 5, it

moved resolutions in both houses of the parliament scrapping the two 70-

year old articles from the Indian constitution. In doing so, it incorporated

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Jammu and Kashmir as a federally administered area with its own elected

legislative body; and the Ladakh/Kargil region, to be directly administered

by the Federal government in Delhi. •

The Timing of the Decision

In politics, timing is everything for bringing about far reaching, fundamental

changes. Just consider these factors the Modi government would

have considered before scrapping Articles 370 and 35A.

1. For the second time, the BJP returned to power in the May 2019

national elections with an even greater majority and approval. It is unlikely

that this will be repeated again in the next general election in 2024. The

fragmented Indian opposition parties are in disarray. The Congress Party

has lost its moorings — even its relevance — in Indian politics with its

sycophantic senile leaders genuflecting in front of the inept Gandhis. In

the parliament, no party even qualifies as the official Opposition party.

2. Pakistan has problems on multiple fronts. Imran Khan is a weak

prime minister without a majority in the parliament, picked for the job by

Pakistan’s powerful military. In fifteen months in power, he has put key

opposition leaders in jail. The Human Development Index (taking into

account literacy, access to health care, gender equality, living standards

and other measures) of Pakistan is poor, 150th among 189 nations. India’s

is only slightly better, at 130/189. Pakistan has accumulated massive debt.

In the last 25 years, it has gone to the IMF 13 times (including in 2019)

for bailouts. Each time the loan was given under tighter conditions. The

Pakistani rupee has lost 30% of its value in the last 12 months; its stock

market has taken a similar beating. Srging inflation and unemployment

are hurting the working poor. Pakistan’s influence in the Muslim Ummah,

even with its nuclear weapons, is not where it wants to be vis-a-vis

India’s. There is resentment among the Balochs over exploitation and

neglect. Sindh has its own simmering problems with Punjab and with

Mohajirs (the Urdu-speaking descendants of Muslims who moved from

India to Pakistan in 1947).

3. As mentioned earlier, politicians, diplomats, back channel folks

and outside interlocutors are not able to resolve the issue. Pakistan-initiated

wars, infiltration and the arming of separatists — even the nuclear weapons

with missiles — have had the same effect.

4. Major global powers have their own issues – Russia with Crimea;

China in Tibet, Hong Kong, and in handling the Muslims Uighurs; the

US with Mexico and illegal immigrants. Besides, Iraqis and Syrians and

others from Muslim nations are seeking political/economic asylum in

Europe, US/Canada, while other rich Arab nations (Saudi Arabia, the

Persian Gulf countries, Kuwait) are simply standing by.

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

5. The world is weary of the Kashmir issue that has been festering

for over 70 years. In the UN General Assembly’s annual fall jamboree,

every time India and Pakistan talked on Kashmir, the delegates yawned.

These addresses were only for local consumption in India and Pakistan.

6. The EU is in its own mess with Brexit. The United Kingdom in

today’s world is irrelevant. The Empire imploded decades ago.

7. The world economy is faltering after 12 years of expansion. With

Trump’s tariff wars on the rest of the world, free trade is now dead with

far-reaching implications. So, Kashmir is peripheral to many leaders.

8. India has a better technology base. The goodwill capital of millions

of Indians working in many countries as engineers, doctors, teachers,

carpenters, electricians, construction workers and taxi drivers is getting

transferred to India. But the Indian economy — and the global economy

as well — has been faltering lately.

With the erratic Trump, the Sole-Super-Power U.S. has no gravitas on

the world stage. Trump is now a caricature.Trump’s gratuitous unsolicited

mediation/arbitration offer was the proverbial Indian crow landing with

a jerk on a bough of a tree with a fully ripened fruit ready to fall at any

moment. Trump’s gratuitous offer was the jerk.

Thus, tactically, the time could not have been better for the Modi

government to take a deep breath and scrap Articles 370 and 35-A

in one stroke through legislation. And it did so on August 5, 2019 with a

better than 2/3 majority in both houses of the parliament, de-spite the BJP

not even having a majority in the Rajya Sabha (the Upper House). The

Supreme Court will remember this when the case reaches its doors. •

Want a Free Copy in the Mail? or

Have Ideas for Articles?

We get e-mails asking us how we can get a copy of the magazine

in the mail.

The magazine is mailed free every quarter to nearly 2000 homes of

Indian-Americans, local libraries, offices of elected officials, and media

outlets... To get your copy in the mail, send your name and mailing

addresses to: thepatrika@aol.

com

Also we get enquiries from

readers for writing articles on

events being organized under different

social and cultural banners,

their travels, first-person accounts... For these contact the editor at

724 327 0953 or e-mail your enquiries to: thepatrika@aol.com •

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Acharya Jagdish Chandra Joshi was born in the Indian state of Uttarkhand at the foot hills

of the Himalayas. His high school education was at Haridwar. His father, Joshi says, never

pushed him into any field, but insisted that he does well in the field he chooses. So modern!!

His family was steeped in Sanskrit linguistic traditions. So, he was naturally towards Sanskrit

classics. After topping his class in high school, when Joshi went to Varanashi, he was the first

in his family, may be in his entire village, to go to the place for higher education in Sanskrit. He

earned his master’s degree in Sanskrit literature. He also learned vocal and instrumental music

there, along with Vedic literature. Working as a Pandit at the Hindu-Jain temple since 1999,

Joshi has traveled all over the U.S. for conducting various services for Hindus.

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Chinmayananda’s Mahasamadhi Day

Celebrated with Reverence

By Ganesh Krishnamurthy

Volunteer at Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh

Chinmaya Mission Pittsburgh (CMP) hosted its first Chinmaya Mahasamadhi

Camp from July 29th to Aug 4th at the Doubletree Hotel in

Greentree. The camp is an annual week-long family spiritual retreat for

people active in the Chinmaya Mission, and is also open to the public,

hosted by different centers in North America. San Diego and Chicago

hosted the last 2 camps.

Volunteers of the Pittsburgh Branch of the mission.

The camp’s thrust is to celebrate the life of Swami Chinmayananda,

a great exponent of the Hindu Vedantic teachings in the 20th century.

Swami Chinmayananda left this world on August 3, 1993 in San Diego

and the annual camp culminates on Aug 3, with a devotion filled Mahasamadhi

puja.

The main topic for this year was Krishna Leela and was presided over

by Pujya Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission. The attendees

also heard discourses by Swami Shantananda on Chapter 8 of the Bhagavad

Gita and Swami Prakashananda on Purajana Gita.

The organizing team of volunteers endeavored to make the campers

like the members in Gokul and Vrindavan with exhibits and murals of

child Krishna.

To help complement Swami Swaroopananda’s discourses, several

well-known episodes of Lord Krishna’s stories — like Krishna’s birth,

Kaliya Mardhanam, and Raasa Leela — were brought to life through dance

recitals staged by members of Chinmaya Mission. Abhang recitations,

and painting jugalbandi were other attractions.

On August 3, all participants offered a Mahasamadhi Puja showing

their veneration to Swami Chinmayananda. A highlight of the day was the

Chinmaya Mission... continued on Page 25

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Uncertainty for the Near Future in South Asia

All abrupt changes need time for adjusting to new realities. With India

making J&K a Union Territory, the Line of Control is now the de facto

International Border. The on-again-off-again India-Pakistan diplomatic

relationship will be off-again for the foreseeable future.

For starters, there will be only minimum diplomatic contacts between

India and Pakistan. The already dormant South Asian Association for

Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is now dead, buried in Pakistan and cremated

in India. Pakistan has banned direct trade with India, even though

it benefits its economy and its working poor, given the economic crisis

Pakistan is experiencing. People-to-people contact are gone. It may close

its space for airlines for all flights to and from India.

In his tweets, speeches, interviews and writings, Imran Khan repeatedly

throws incendiary terms like fascist, racist, Nazi, Hitler, Mussolini, ethnic

cleansing, Hindu Supremacists and Muslim persecution, when referring to

Modi and his government. This he does to whip up anti-India, anti-Hindu

feelings in Pakistan and draw the Western media’s sympathy.

Pakistan, given its severe economic crunch, cannot afford a full-scale

conventional war stretching even a few weeks. So, border skirmishes will

be the norm, with frequent terrorist attacks in J&K and elsewhere in India.

The two countries spying on each other will intensify. Military and security

outlays will increase further, possibly hurting Pakistan more.

Given the severe strains in Pakistan’s economy and its aam-aadmi problems,

its faujis will not be interested in a coup. The current arrangement of

having a pliable, weak prime minister allows it to let the elected nominal

government face all problems, while appearing to keep its hands clean.

If Pakistan’s military thinks it has nothing to lose — or the loss it will

inflict on India will far more severe — nothing will stop it from initiating

skirmishes in Kashmir that could escalate into war. In desperation,

Pakistan’s military may even consider the nuclear option. Imran Khan

repeatedly warns the world of this possibility, trying to force the global

powers to intervene. But even an adventurous and foolhardy military

will count its beans before getting into a mess much bigger than what it

can handle.

For India too, conventional war with Pakistan will impede its efforts

to leap forward from new projects critical for its growth to catch up with

China on many fronts. But if Pakistan attacks India again as it did in the

Indian Parliament in 2001 and in Mumbai in 2008, India will be forced

to respond.

The several invectives that Imran Khan raised against Modi on the

abrogation — like changing the demographics of Kashmir, ethnic

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

cleansing, ill-treating minorities and

others — are more applicable to Pakistan.

The Hindu population in Pakistan

in 1971 (after the Bangladesh war) was

nearly 2.9%. Now it is around 1.7%.

Pakistan’s Hindus, Christians, Ahmedis,

and Sikhs complain about violence

against them and their women. Balochs

complain that Pakistan’s Punjabis and

Sindhis are changing the demographics

of Baluchistan, the mineral rich, thinly

populated region. Christians, Sikhs and

Hindus are prohibited by law from holding the office of president, prime

minister, or chief Justice, or in the military. Ahmedis are hounded out and

persecuted, and cannot even contest elections. And Pakistan has already

changed the demographics in the part of Kashmir it occupies and in the

Gilgit/Baltistan region with people from the Punjab. Pakistan-occupied

Kashmir is now directly administered by Islamabad. So, on these matters,

Imran Khan has to only stand in front a mirror before accusing Modi.

The real winner are the Ladakhis. People in Jammu have welcomed

the abrogation. The Ladakhis, now in a directly administered Fed-

Uncertainties in South Asia... Continued on Page 26

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Qingdao, A Chinese Gem Along the Yellow Sea

By Kollengode S Venkataraman

I was on business in Qingdao, a major city in Shandong Province in

Eastern China. It is on the western shore of the Yellow Sea, with the

South Korean shore to the east, around 500 miles across. With a population

of 9 million, it is China’s 18th largest population center. China’s Guangzhou’s

population is

45 million; Shanghai’s

35 million; Beijing’s

22 million; and

Chengdu’s 18 million.

So, you can call

it a second-tier city

of China. By comparison,

Allegheny

County’s population

is 2 million.

A major city in

China’s One Belt One

Road (OBOR) Initiative that connects Asia with Europe, it has the highest

GDP of any city in the province. Qingdao is a major seaport, has a naval

base, and is an industrial center. It has the longest sea bridge (over 17

miles long), linking the main urban areas, straddling the Jiaozhou Bay.

The bridge was designed and built by Chinese engineers to survive larger

typhoons and earthquakes.

to German colonization during the 19th century, Qingdao is

Thanks also famous for Tsingtao beer, and has the second largest brewery

in China. With its long coastline along the bay, it has several beautiful

beaches and vista

points. In 2018,

the Shanghai

Cooperation Organization

held

its summit in

Qingdao, in a

sprawling brandnew

building

specially built

for the meeting.

At the waterfront, people having a good time on a bright spring day.

19

Several heads of

states participat-


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

ed. The aquatic portion of the Summer Olympics

2012 was held in Qingdao.

With so many high-visibility events staged in

Qingdao, the whole area has received much attention

from China’s governments. They have executed massive

infrastructure projects against tight schedules.

The prosperity among China’s organized sectors

is visible every-where. In fancy malls,

people are in fashionable clothes; they have the latest

models of high-end cell phones and European automobiles.

They spend their weekends in fancy, mostly Chinese restaurants,

and in excellent open-air entertainment centers, . Even with divided 4- and

5-lane city roads, they have traffic jams during peak hours.

During my stay, on a weekend, my colleague Robin Cao showed me

around Qingdao’s waterfront and cityscape, and restaurant scene. It was

a pleasant, mild, sunny spring day. Flowers were part of the sidewalks in

the city, and not just in any park. You can imagine how many resources

the city government spends on

beautification!

China has the widest possible

choices in food. In

one grocery store, different sizes

and types of eggs from a variety

of birds were on display. You

have to see to believe the range of

vegetables, grains, noodles, and

Chinese buns — like our modaks — with all kinds of vegetarian and nonvegetarian

fillings. And for seafood fanatics and meat-eaters, the choices

are endless, with a whole range of fish, crabs, lobsters, turtles, and other

reptiles (including snakes); in addition to pork, chicken, beef, lamb, and

goat, you also get wild game, and also body parts of large animals such

as livers, brains, tongues, etc.

A whole range of tropical and

subtropical fruits are available,

both locally grown, and imported

from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam,

and Indonesia.

Even as a vegetarian, I had no

problem in getting what I wanted

in restaurants. When I went with

my colleagues, they took care of

me. But on several occasions, I

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

explored the

restaurant

scene all by

myself. No

one speaks

English and

t h e y a r e

not embarrassed

or

apologetic

about it. After

all, 1.3

billion people

speak

Mandarin.

So, language

was

a big problem

for me

in exploring

the restaurant scene all by myself. I asked my colleague Robin to prepare

for me a list of my food restraints written in English and translated into

Mandarin. See the figure above. In restaurants, the waiter and I would

exchange the menu card and my card on food preferences. The waiter

would look at it, giggle/smile/chuckle and take me around for me to pick

what I wanted from among the items on display. I was never disappointed

with what I got. The many pictures shown here tell you how far China

has come. Yes, there is poverty and there are ghettoes. Show me one

American or European city that does not have their share of povertystricken

areas, where working class and poor people live servicing the

needs of the affluent.

I had the privilege

of having an elaborate

15-course all-vegetarian

dinner that my colleague

Robin hosted for me in

his elegant apartment

near the Qingdao University

with the mountain

range as the backdrop.

His wife Jessy,

Their first 15-item all-vegetarian banquet spread for me.

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

The Chinese design of a tri-wheeler

for a small family.

who teaches computer science at the university was the most gracious

host; she told me that in her entire life, this was the first time she had

ever made an all-vegetarian luncheon for their guest. Robin and Jessy live

with his mother and his 20-year old daughter Anne, who is pursuing her

IT degree at Qingdao University.

Instead of writing long passages on how the Chinese have adapted to

Western influences, the two pictures of women in restaurants shown

below can be a metaphor on how China deals with Western influences.

I took the pictures in random restaurants where I was having my meals.

These women were total strangers to me. (I got their permission for the

pictures.) They were elegantly dressed; the woman in the red dress is

having her Belgian waffle; and in the other picture, the woman is having

a tandoori roti.

I took the pictures in different restaurants on

different days. Waffle is a European breakfast

item, and tandoori roti is an Indian item. And

without giving up or

modifying their lifestyle,

and without any embarrassment,

they were elegantly

using chopsticks

to eat food items from all

over the world. And there are millions like them

all over China.

This goes beyond their eating habits. They are

comfortable in being Chinese, even when they

become affluent and college-educated. They do not want to change their

essential Chineseness. All through the Communist Revolution of the Mao

era and the economic boom initiated by Presidents Deng and continued

by Xi, the core tenets of Confucian values are still strong. In this regard,

the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are

quite different from Indians.

and thirty-story high apart-

Twenty- ment complexes are scattered all

over China to meet the ever-increasing

demand for the affluent professional

middle class. Since no one can own

land in China (they can be only taken on

100-year leases), the affluent invest in

apartments as a hedge against inflation.

This has given rise to a unique situation

of having large apartment complexes with

22


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

only 60% or 70% occupancy. Arab sheikhs, Russian oligarchs, and Indian/

Chinese tycoons do the same in London, Paris and New York. Same

story with NRIs in urban India.

On the Qingdao bay, the young and affluent Chinese were relaxing in

their yachts and speed

boats. And in the plaza,

a whole bunch of

people varying in age

from 85 to 2 years

and toddlers — great

grandparents, sons

and daughters and

grandkids — were

enjoying the sun.

Even on a bright

23

day, some days, the

sky was muggy due

to pollution. But the government is hell bent on doing its best to reduce

the carbon footprint. Public buses and light rail transits are increasingly

becoming popular among youngsters.

In China taxis are retired after a certain number of years or after a

certain number of kilometers on their odometer. So, taxis are relatively

new and clean. All taxis

are metered and accept

credit cards. I was surprised

that in all my

rides, the taxi drivers

did not wait for my tip,

and refused even when

I offered, as did waiters

in restaurants. This is a

huge difference between

the US on the one hand,

and Europe, China, and

Japan on the other. Maybe the money they earn in these occupations given

them enough incomes. In the US, waiters in restaurants live only on their

tips. In most places in the US, their hourly salary is around $3.00 per

hour. Taxi drivers in the US will frown if you don’t tip them.

I

The entrance to the waterfront with flower garden.

Qingdao Marina with boats. The city is the backdrop

was getting ready for my return journey early in the morning. I got

into the taxi. The taxi driver turned the ignition key on and pressed

a button. A 1-minute audio tape came on asking me one last time: Did

you check your passport? Did you check your flight is today? Did you


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

check in already? Do you want to check

anything else before we go?

It was a 40-minute taxi ride to the airport.

Along the way, the driver wanted

to ask me a few details about my flight.

He opened an app and said something in

Mandarin. The English translation came:

Which airline? Domestic or International?

Flight number? Departure time? I

A young couple in the marina.

replied in English and he got the translation

in Mandarin. That is how far advanced China is.

It took China over 70 years to become a vibrant and confident nation

to challenge the Western and Japanese domination in the 20th century

from the feudal society that it was before Mao’s Revolution.

For 1700 years up to the Industrial Revolution, the world GDP of those

times was split between India and China. See the chart below. China is fast

regaining its past, lost glory. It has become the manufacturing hub for the

rest of the world. Its technology base is good and getting better by the day,

and its business acumen is something for the rest of the world to worry

about. It has developed

its own

version of the

bullet train. It is

close to develop

a commercial

equivalent of the

Boeing 737 and

Airbus 320 for

its own market,

which is huge,

and later for the

Asian market.

There is reason

for the U.S. and

EU to worry.

The rest of the

world has a lot to learn from China -— on what to do and how to do it;

and, more importantly, how to adapt modern technologies to local conditions.

If other nations are smart, perhaps they may even learn thow o avoid

some of China’s missteps along its path of rapid growth. •

24


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Chinmaya Mission.. ... Continued from Page 15

Audience in one of the sessions

traditional Kerala-style authentic meal on banana leaf in remembrance of

Gurudev who was from Kerala. A separate exhibition showcased pictures,

quotes and audio clips of Gurudev.

Many guests associated with Chinmaya Mission for a long time were

thoroughly impressed with how the retreat was organized and said this was

the “best they have gone to.” Guests also visited the Sanjeevani ashram

and the SV Temple on one of the afternoons. Guests were amazed that

Pittsburgh, in spite of being

a smaller city, had places of

worship, spiritual centers and

a thriving cultural network,

supported by a warm and wellconnected

Indian community.

Pittsburgh has a special connection

to Gurudev since he

came to Pittsburgh in the 70’s.

He said Pittsburgh’s confluence

point of the three rivers

reminded him of the Triveni

Sangam in Prayaag. For members

of the Pittsburgh branch

of the Chinmaya Mission who

had met and interacted with

Gurudev, it was a special and

emotional moment to host the

From the Krishna Leela

camp in Pittsburgh.

The members of the Chinmaya Mission of Pittsburgh acknowledge

with gratitude the support and help they received from members of our

community in various ways for making the retreat a memorable one. •

25


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Uncertainties in South Asia.. ... Continued from Page 17

eral Region after the abrogation, are ecstatic since they will be no longer

exploited by Kashmiris in Srinagar and in the Valley. While the Muslims

in the Valley in J&K complain about New Delhi’s domination, they have

been dishing out the same thing to Hindus in Jammu and to Buddhists in

Ladakh. The Ladakh region has been exploited and neglected since 1947

in every way possible by the Kashmiri Muslim political leaders.

This article would be incomplete without presenting the plight of

the Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, who are part of the larger Saraswat

Brahmin community. The Kashmiri Pandits’ contribution to Indian intellectual

life has been enormous through the millennia. Here are some of

the big names: Charaka (300 BC, the father of Ayurveda); Vishnu Sharman,

the author of Panchatantra (300 BC); Nagasena (200 BC) Buddhist

Scholar; the famous Kalidasa (5th century AD); Somananda, the famous

teacher of Kashmir Saivism (9th century); the polymath Abhinavagupta

(10th century); Utpala, a mathematician (10th century); Kalhana, poet

and dramatist known for Rajatarangini (12th century); Sarngadeva, the

musicologist (13th century AD); and the list goes on.

In the 1980s, over 450,000 Pandits were in the Kashmir Valley, having

lived there for millennia. The Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front run

26


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

by Muslim separatists, securing money and arms from Pakistan and other

sources, targeted the Pandits and their women with gruesome violence and

threats of violence and drove them out of the Valley. Now, hardly 3000

Pandits live there. Their exodus from the valley is hardly highlighted as

ethnic cleansing, even in the Indian media.

[Many Kashmir Pandits converted to Islam over several centuries, and

are now prominent political leaders. Kashmiri Muslims carrying the same

DNA as the Hindu Pandits are responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the

Hindu Pandits. That should send a chill through anyone’s spine.]

In the next few years, if the Modi government proves that it is serious

about delivering all things to the people of Jammu & Kashmir

and Ladakh that the abrogation of the articles promises, there is a good

chance that after some hiccups and initial difficulties, ordinary Kashmiris

in the valley will see their own self-interest and accept the abrogation. This

will weaken the hands of the militants and the Hurryat separatists asking

the Kashmiri youth to indulge in violence, thus jeopardizing their future.

It is unconscionable that the Hurryat leaders live in relative comfort in

Kashmir, and their sons and daughters live in and outside India leading

placid, secure lives as doctors, engineers and professors.

Kashmir deserves a respite from the corrupt Abdullahs, Muftis, Gandhi

satraps, Hurryat leaders, and the violence let loose by the separatists and the

terrorist outfits with Pakistan support. — By K S Venkataraman •

27


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Affordability of the Retirement Communities

in India and in Pune City

Balwant Dixit, Pittsburgh, PA E-mail: bdixit@pitt.edu

In recent years, many reports describing the beginning

of a new era in providing much needed shelter,

well prepared meals and affordable basic medical

care to an estimated 100 million senior citizens of

India have appeared in Indian papers and magazines.

Not to be outdone, several Indian publications and

organizations in the USA have given glowing reports

of the retirement communities established in India.

Simultaneously, in the USA efforts are underway

to build retirement communities for Indians with great enthusiasm. Such

stories in print give Indians living outside India and in India a sense of

accomplishment and make them feel confident that the problems senior

citizens in India are facing will rapidly be solved by just building a few

more retirement communities in India. However, if one looks at the ground

reality in India one cannot escape the conclusion that the solutions to the

difficulties the 100 million seniors in India are facing today are far from

being realistically addressed to.

The majority of India’s current population is less than 30 years old.

The traditional joint family system that works in safeguarding the social

and economic security of the seniors has been lost. With the emergence

of nuclear family, many seniors are exposed to emotional, physical and

financial insecurity. In countries like India the magnitude of economic

insecurity is very high with more than half of seniors in India are dependents.

According to the 2012 census, the population of India was 1210 million,

with a close to 100 million (8.6%) seniors. By 2026 the population

of seniors expected to increase to 175 million. Currently, there are 35-40

large independent retirement facilities or communities in India, located

in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Dehradun, Chennai, Delhi, Coimbatore, and

Pune and in few other cities. The cost of 1BR and 2BR condos in

these communities ranges from Rs. 45 lakhs ($50,000) to Rs. 15 crores

($250,000). In addition, monthly service charges range from Rs. 35,000

to 80,000. However, the demand is outstripping the supply by such a

wide margin that facilities are sold out before even they are completed.

Assisted care, Nursing Care, Alzheimer and Memory Care services are

also now available at some of the retirement communities, but costs are

very high. Nationally, with the average occupation ranging from 300 to

600 seniors in each of these facilities they can accommodate not more than

15,000 seniors. Usually, the buyers of condos in such facilities are from

26


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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the top 1% of the Indian population or rich NRIs returning home or some

of them buying condos for their old parents living in India. Most of such

facilities are located within or near the large urban areas, with relatively

easy access to hospitals and large shopping complexes.

Apparently, there is a significant need for these types of relatively

high priced facilities in India. For example, a new private, not-for-profit

trust, Age Ventures India (AVI), has recently been established to start

planning construction of retirement facilities in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad,

and Greater Gurgaon area. AVI is partnering with HelpAge India for

knowledge sharing and with the USA based Pacifica Senior Living for

various aspects of strategic planning. AVI plans to offer comprehensive

services necessary for the welfare of the senior citizens

In addition to these large retirement facilities, almost every city in

India such as Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mysore, Kolkata,

Hyderabad have 15 to 20 small retirement facilities offering a mix of

amenities such as long or short stay, assisted care, memory care, hospice

care with 2 to 4 beds in each room. The quality of bedroom furnishings

and associated furnishings vary significantly from one to the other. Meals

are usually provided and the monthly service fee ranges from Rs. 40,000

to 70,000 and some facilities even charging up to Rs. 50,000 to get on

the waiting list. Such small facilities are always located within the city

limits for easy access to medical care and other amenities. These small

29


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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size facilities can accommodate an additional estimated 6000 seniors.

HelpAge India is a leading charitable organization working with and

for seniors and older people in India for the past 40 years. It runs a gamut

of programs with the aim to serve needs of elders in a holistic manner,

enabling them to live active, dignified and healthier lives. HelpAge India

has established 26 old age homes for the seniors in places such as Patiala,

Tamil Nadu, Mumbai, and Kolkata accommodating estimated 2,000 seniors

and old age persons. Their facilities can provide comprehensive support

to their inhabitants at a relatively low costs since HelpAge operates principally

on donations they receive from individual donors, corporations

and Trusts & Foundations.

All these facilities collectively can accommodate a total estimated

30,000 seniors, i.e. about 0.003% of the total senior population, leaving

99% of the seniors in need of affordable retirement facilities. How that

can be done is a big question that defies easy answers since verifiable data

on the needs of seniors is not available.

There are several hurdles in the planning of future facilities in India.

No oversight agencies or regulations to monitor the financial stability of

the retirement communities. Nearly a total lack of reliable data about the

living and economic conditions, social profile, and assistance available for

the activities of daily living (ADLs), the primary caregiver and the health

and nutrition across the population of seniors. There is no standardiza-

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

tion of services and costs associated with them. The Indian population is

divided into rural (65-70%) and the urban (35-30%). Only scant data are

available is on a small sample of the urban population. The value system

and family dynamics is different in many respects when one compares the

rural and urban population of seniors.

The relevant questions that need to be answered are: How many of the

estimated 100 million seniors can afford to move away from their current

place of residence and live away from their relatives to live independently?

How many can afford to pay for their health care?

In India there are laws that allow the parents to sue their sons and

daughters who refuse to provide financial support to them. In cities like

Delhi, Mumbai and Pune there are examples of aged parents suing and

winning cases against their children for kicking them out. In some of the

metropolitan areas and in rural communities there are cases of sons or

daughters dropping or abandoning their elderly mothers where they are

given help by NGOs and Mandirs for survival.

In 2016 the Tata Institute of Social Research completed a survey, “The

Situational Analysis of Elderly in Pune City” about the seniors in Pune

City on the conditions senior citizens are living and the difficulties they

are experiencing on a day to day basis. The survey evaluated (i) Living

conditions (ii) Economic conditions (iii) Social profile (iv) Activities of

daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (v) Primary

31


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

caregiver (vi) Health and nutrition.

This type of study is a rare in India, while a lot of credible studies

related to the problems faced by seniors have been conducted in the West.

The Pune City was selected because it is one of the fast growing cities

in India and has been touted as the retirement capital of India. In 2016,

the population of Pune was 6 million, with seniors estimated at 500,000

(8.5%); greater than 30% of them living in slums.

Currently there are four (55+) independent living retirement facilities

(Athashris) and an estimated 20 small Continuing Care Retirement Community

(CCRC) type facilities in Pune. The cost for a one BR condo is

about Rs. 45-60 lakhs in Athashris. Monthly service cost in a CCRC type

of facilities varies from Rs. 35,000 to 45,000. All these facilities together

can provide housing for only about 2000 seniors i.e. for 0.005% of the

estimated population of seniors in Pune.

The main conclusion of the survey indicates a very difficult situation

being faced by seniors in Pune, with the conclusion that these types of

facilities are unaffordable for the 99% of the seniors in Pune.

To make the situation worse politicians of every political persuasion

announce before the election that they intend to build retirement facilities

in every town and villages in India if elected, and after getting elected,

they comfortably forger there promises. •

32


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Missing elephants... ... Continued from Page 34

Ali is walking Laxmi along the Delhi roads evading police.

living their “wild lives” with impunity.

In mid-September, The Indian Express staff met the elephant’s owner

Yusuf Ali (45), who was with Laxmi in Delhi. Evading arrest, Ali said

he and Laxmi never left the capital. Initially, he “hid” Laxmi in a wooded

area along the Yamuna.

One of Ali’s friends then told Ali he had a large farmhouse where he

could keep Laxmi. And that is where she had been ever since she went

“missing.” Ali took her out every evening for a walk for about an hour or

two. Ali would occasionally

step out

of hiding to buy

food for Laxmi and

to meet his family.

Even when he

didn’t have enough

to eat, he took

care of Laxmi.

He would arrange

a 500-litre water

tanker every day

along with sugarcane

and jowar.

Mr. Ali now

has a non-bailable warrant against him under IPC sections 353 (assault or

criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 186

(obstructing public servant in dis-charge of public functions).

Ali says he will abide by the court’s decision. “This is my elephant,

and I have an emotional attachment with it.” — By Premlata V. •

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

Dekho Hamara Hindustan

Story of A Missing Elephant

This could happen only in Hamara Hindustan. An elephant went missing,

not in one of the Kerala-Karnataka Temples where elephants are part of

the temple retinue. And not in their natural habitat in the Western Ghats in

Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, where

road signs display elephant corridors warning

motorists of herds of wild elephants

crossing — like deer crossing signs here.

Remember, these winding roads in India

go through the natural forest habitat of the

elephants. So, on these roads elephants

have the right of way over motorists for

road crossings. See the picture below.

But this elephant went missing in July

this year in — hold your breath — of all

the places, metropolitan New Delhi with a bulging population of over 18

million people. And Laxmin, the elephant, was the only one in the entire

Delhi Metro area at that time.

According to the story in the Indian Express (September 17, 2019),

the missing elephant Laxmi kept the Delhi Police and wildlife officials

on its tail since July, with a nationwide alert being sounded. The

35-year old pachyderm

was last seen along the

banks of the Yamuna.

But Laxmi was kept

right in New Delhi all

the while by her mahout

Yusuf Ali.

The relationship between

elephants and its

owners and mahout is

symbiotic. Often, elephants outlive their mahouts and when the mahouts

die, elephants weep in grief and refuse food for days.

Delhi’s wild life officials said in early January, Laxmi and five other

elephants in Delhi were kept in “poor housing and health conditions and

lack of suitable space and water facilities in Delhi, violating the 2008

guidelines by the Union Environment Ministry.”

One wonders why these “wild life” officials don’t recognize the wild

species of Homo sapiens in Delhi living in fancy high-rise apartments

Missing elephants.. ... continued on Page 33

34


The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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The Pittsburgh Patrika, Vol, 25, No. 1, October 2019

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